Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Hell in a Cell 2016
Date: October 30, 2016
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
It’s the annual “scary” show as we have three matches inside the Cell. In this case we’ve got Rusev challenging Roman Reigns for the US Title, Kevin Owens defending the Raw World Title against Seth Rollins and, possibly, a main event of Charlotte going after Sasha Banks’ Women’s Title. If that’s true, it’s the biggest match in the history of women’s wrestling. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Lince Dorado/Cedric Alexander/Sin Cara vs. Drew Gulak/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari
Rematch from Superstars. Cara and Nese start things off and Dorado looks so much like Cara that Mauro Ranallo gets them confused. A couple of backbreakers have Nese’s partners in trouble as we get a Sin Cara chant. Cara moonsaults onto Daivari to set up a double tag to Dorado and Nese with the former cleaning house off a variety of kicks. A shooting star press gets two on Nese and everything breaks down. Nese throws Dorado onto Cara and Cedric to send us to a break.
Back (after that freaky Ziggler vs. Miz chicken ad) with Daivari kneeing Dorado in the face and the fans not going along with Nese’s pleas for a DAIVARI chant. Nese trips Dorado and springboards into a Lionsault which barely grazes Lince but gets two anyway. The hot tag brings in Alexander to a very nice reaction. A triple dive takes the heels out and everything breaks down with a series of strikes and slams all around. Cedric stomps on Gulak and gives him the Lumbar Check for the pin at 9:37.
Rating: C. This is the kind of match you have these guys around for: it’s entertaining, there’s little reason for it to be taking place and the fans freak out because of all the high spots. These guys are great for popping a crowd but it all falls apart when they’re trying to do something serious, which is a problem for a division like this.
The opening video features the Ouija board theme before talking about the three main matches and all the violence that will ensue.
US Title: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev
Cole says this is the 34th time the Cell has been lowered, which really doesn’t have the same ring to it anymore. Reigns is defending and slugs away to start before heading outside for some failed rams into the cage. Rusev gets knocked off the apron and into the cage before being whipped into the cage. A kick to the head gets Rusev out of trouble and he takes Reigns back inside to start working on the arm.
Rusev misses a charge though and gets clotheslined in the corner, followed by a boot to the face. That just earns Reigns a whip into the steps before Rusev changes the pace a bit by hitting the champ in the face with the steps. They head back inside with Reigns slingshotting into a dropkick through the ropes to send Rusev into the cage again.
It’s already time for a kendo stick and a table as the champ pounds away on Rusev’s back. They head inside again and Rusev gets the cane away before tying Reigns up. Some hard shots to the chest have Reigns in trouble until a spear gets a quick near fall. The Superman Punch connects for two but the second spear is blocked by a loud superkick.
Rusev sends him face first into the steps (on the top rope) for two more and frustration is setting in. The Accolade goes on with Reigns’ shoulders nearly being pulled out of socket. The champ gets out again so Rusev opts for a chain, which is quickly knocked out of his hands. We actually get dueling Rusev chants as he loads the steps back into the ring. Rusev’s kick to the face gets two more and it’s back to the Accolade with Reigns on the steps with the chain in his mouth. Naturally Roman powers out of it into a Samoan drop onto the steps. Rusev stands up and gets speared off the steps for the pin at 24:31.
Rating: B+. And so much for Rusev and the Accolade at the moment. This was reaching Cena levels of taking a beating and surviving over and over no matter what happens, though at least it’s in a match designed to be that barbaric. The other problem is who fights Reigns next. It’s not like there’s anyone really ready to face him on the Raw roster but at least they can just put him on the Survivor Series roster to buy themselves a month.
We look at Seth Rollins winning the triple threat on Monday.
Owens isn’t impressed at Rollins beating him for three seconds out of a match that lasted about 600. Then he powerbombed Rollins onto the apron, just like he did to John Cena. Tonight Rollins wants to get inside a Cell to become Universal Champion to prove he’s the man. That won’t be happening because Owens is going to do in the Cell will make what we just saw look like a cakewalk. After the match tonight, it won’t be clear what Rollins will be but Owens will be the man.
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
Rematch from a few weeks ago on Raw where Dana won, albeit with the ending looking a bit botched. Bayley gets in a few kicks to the ribs but Dana takes her into the corner to pull on the bad shoulder. Some knees to the should have Bayley in trouble, though I’m not sure why Dana keeps screaming before each knee drop. Dana loads up the ram into the post that won her the first match but gets blocked, only to have Bayley’s bad arm draped across the top rope. A quick suplex from Bayley and a basement clothesline set up the middle rope elbow to the jaw. The Bayley to Belly gets the pin at 6:27.
Rating: C-. Not much to this one but the right person won and that’s the important idea here. Dana is fine for a gatekeeper heel, especially when the division is as weak as it is at the moment. Bayley is probably in line for a title feud at this point and the good thing is there’s enough history for her to go face vs. face with Sasha if she retains tonight.
Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon play Exposition Theater about Survivor Series when Chris Jericho comes in to ask why he’s not on Team Raw. This leads into a discussion of Foley being put on the List for a third time, a trinity, a triumvirate or tres tiempos. Foley isn’t intimidated by threats of getting IT (“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”) so Jericho gets back to the point: he and Kevin Owens should be the captains of Team Raw. Stephanie doesn’t think so because Owens has a title defense to worry about.
Enzo Amore/Big Cass vs. Anderson and Gallows
Before the match, Enzo has a message for Andy and the Big Gal. Enzo: “You are like Times New Roman font: as generic as it gets.” Cass thinks Big Gal is a sloppy jalopy and he’s going to go upside Luke’s head like Big Papi. Enzo thinks that after tonight, he’s going to have to start calling Cass Woody because he’s going to have Andy all over the bottom of his boot (if I have to explain that reference to you……yeah I’ve got nothing).
Enzo cross bodies Anderson to start and it’s already off to Cass for some shots in the corner. The bald guys are taken to the floor where Gallows clotheslines Enzo’s head off to take over. It’s a short form beating though as Enzo shoves Anderson off the top and hits his middle rope DDT. That means a hot tag off to Cass to clean house with Karl being sent out to the floor. The Empire Elbow gets two on Anderson but Cass misses the big boot. Enzo tags himself in for a high crossbody and the dancing jabs. Gallows comes right back with a superkick and the Magic Killer puts Enzo away at 6:45.
Rating: D+. Again, not much to this one but this isn’t the match that people are watching the show to see. Enzo and Cass are likely losing here to set up a big road to redemption where they FINALLY win the titles sometime in the new year and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Anderson and Gallows needed a win or two to get them back on track and this is as good of an option as they had.
We recap Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins. Owens won the title a few months back in a fourway with Owens receiving a bit of help from HHH. Rollins then had the title won last month until the referee was taken out and Rollins’ pin wasn’t counted. Seth claimed conspiracy so the solution was to put them inside the Cell.
Raw World Title: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
This means the women are indeed main eventing tonight. Rollins is challenging and is coming in with a bad back thanks to a powerbomb on the apron to end Raw. That means more kinesio tape, which I’m convinced is some kind of product placement. Owens immediately goes for the weapons on the floor but gets chopped for his efforts.
Back inside and Rollins gets two off the Sling Blade before shouting that he’s the man around here. Owens: “Shut up.” A Blockbuster gets two more and it’s already table time. That takes too long though and the bad back is sent into the corner, setting up a backsplash to make things even worse.
Seth is sent into the cage and Owens rips off the tape, which Cole seems to think would hurt worse than the steel. Back in and Seth fires off more chops but Owens sends him through the ropes and face first into the cage. The slow beating continues as the Cannonball sends Seth back outside. That’s fine with Owens as he hits a second Cannonball up against the cage but it’s still too early for the Pop Up Powerbomb.
Instead they trade superkicks, followed by an enziguri to Owens and a BIG clothesline to Rollins as both guys drop. Owens is up first and grabs another table, which he puts on the apron and wedges into the Cell wall at an angle with the original table set up underneath it. Rollins is up with something like a Falcon’s Arrow onto the apron, followed by back to back suicide dives to send Kevin into the steel.
Owens busts out a fire extinguisher but sprays the referee for some reason. The fans want Jericho and here he comes as the original referee is taken out, likely due to a bad case of being cold. Jericho locks himself inside along with a second referee and the key. Rollins knocks Chris into the cage but walks into the package side slam for two more. Fans: “STUPID IDIOT!”
The springboard knee to the face sets up the Pedigree but Jericho makes the save and takes it instead. Rollins powerbombs Owens (after muscling him up) through the double tables and the fans lose it. The frog splash looks to finish but Jericho pulls the referee out to keep things going. That’s enough for Seth who powerbombs Jericho into the Cell, only to walk into the Pop Up Powerbomb for a very close two.
The Canadians start double teaming Rollins with Jericho handing the champ a chair to unload on Rollins’ back. Jericho tries to bring in a second chair and the results are as expected with Seth taking it away and cleaning house. Kevin chairs Seth down again and sets up the two chairs for a big old powerbomb to retain the titles at 23:19.
Rating: B. This was a better story with the good guy fighting through the overwhelming odds until he just couldn’t hang in there anymore. It keeps Rollins looking strong and gives Owens a win, which thankfully he didn’t need HHH to help him earn. It’s still nothing great but at least it was the right ending with no interference from someone who wasn’t involved in the story.
Post match Jericho gives Rollins a Codebreaker.
Cruiserweight Title: Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins
Perkins is defending and Kendrick is getting desperate to keep his career going. They trade rollups to start until Kendrick charges into a hiptoss. A slingshot hilo sends Brian outside but it’s too early for the Wrecking Ball dropkick. Kendrick tries to tie TJ to the ropes using the athletic tape but the champ is right back with another dropkick. A belly to back suplex looks to set up something off the top, only to have TJ dive into a dropkick for two.
The fireman’s carry enziguri sets up the Wrecking Ball but a rollup is countered into the Captain’s Hook. TJ grabs the rope and Brian does the same to escape the kneebar. Brian loads up Sliced Bread #2 but tweaks his knee. Of course he’s gold bricking and, after waiting around for about a minute, TJ goes over to him and gets headbutted into the Captain’s Hook to give Kendrick the title at 10:33.
Rating: D. GAH this was so boring. I’ve tried to care about the cruiserweights but does ANYONE want to see these two and their stupid issues with Kendrick’s mid-life crisis and TJ spouting off video game references? The match was fine but I was just so bored through the whole thing and there’s no way around that.
Cesaro and Sheamus have a bonding moment and say they’re ready to team together after hating each others guts. As expected, this turns into an argument, this time over rental cars.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Cesaro/Sheamus
New Day is defending and say Cesaro is on the verge of some major endorsement deals, including shoes. This turns into a discussion of Kofi wearing Rob Gronkowski shoes to start a Patriots chant. Sheamus will get some deals of his own, but only on things like trashcans. The one thing you’ll never see Sheamus around is these titles because NEW DAY ROCKS.
Sheamus clubs on Woods (odd to not have Kofi defending the titles) to start and it’s off to Cesaro for some uppercuts. The Irish Curse gets two but Sheamus charges into some boots in the corner for the hot tag off to Big E. Woods dives onto Cesaro and Sheamus’ Brogue Kick is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two.
White Noise gets the same on Woods but Sheamus misses a charge and gets caught by the springboard elbow. Cesaro Swings Woods but Big E. remembers that he’s in this match and makes the save. The Midnight Hour is broken up and Sheamus Brogue Kicks Cesaro by mistake. That’s only good for two as well and the champs are sent outside.
Sheamus goes up top (Byron: “Where is Sheamus going?” Cole: “To the top.”) and dives onto all of New Day for a big crash. The legal Woods and Cesaro are thrown inside and Xavier gets caught in the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Sheamus hits Big E. with the trombone and gets hit with Trouble in Paradise for the DQ at 10:23. As you might guess, Woods taps at the exact same time as the DQ.
Rating: C. This was better than I was expecting and the right call. If they just have to go with Cesaro and Sheamus as the eventual champions then so be it, but at least let us get through the record. Otherwise, why bother keeping the titles on New Day for the last several months in the first place? The match was fine and I bought some of the near falls so it could have been a lot worse.
Video on Goldberg vs. Lesnar for no other purpose but to extend the show because that needs to happen.
We recap Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks, which is culminating in the first ever women’s pay per view main event and the first ever women’s match inside the Cell.
Women’s Title: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
Charlotte is challenging and comes out being carried on a throne. Sasha repeats her Takeover: Brooklyn entrance by being driven out in an Escalade and having four people escort her to the ring. We hit the Big Match Intros and then the Cell is lowered. Charlotte jumps the champ before the Cell reaches the ground so they can fight on the floor and extend the show even more.
The Cell is on the ground and Sasha loads up the announcers’ table….but they both climb the wall. Charlotte drops down and hits a wicked powerbomb through the table. Sasha tries to get up but falls back down and EMTs are called. She’s put on a stretcher and Charlotte is announced as the new champion but Sasha gets up and goes inside to start the match (At 10:52 because screw you if you have a job and need to get up early. If you’re going to watch a WWE show, you better be committed.).
Sasha goes right at her to start but gets monkey flipped into the cage wall. A throw over the top sends Sasha’s back into the apron but she pops back up for a baseball slide as Charlotte gets a chair. Back in and Charlotte chops her down in the corner but stops to set up the chair. That means she’s going to go face first into the steel, only to have Charlotte drop her back first onto the chair.
They head outside with Sasha climbing the cage wall and hitting the double knees to the chest to put both women down again. Back in and Three Amigos set up a frog splash on Charlotte for the big near fall. There’s the Bank Statement but Charlotte powers out and fires off a few kicks. Sasha is right back up to lay her on the corner for the double knees onto the chest onto a chair for a loud crash. Charlotte comes right back by pulling Banks to the floor and sending her face first into the steps.
For the third time tonight we have a table set up at ringside and Sasha kicks Charlotte off the apron for a very weak bump. Thankfully they load up another table, which Charlotte pushes into Sasha’s chest to drive her into the Cell again. The Figure Eight goes on but Sasha grabs a chair and blasts Charlotte for the break. Two backbreakers into a side slam get two on Sasha and Charlotte loads her onto the table for the moonsault. It’s still too early for that though and Sasha crotches her on top, only to collapse when trying a running powerbomb. Natural Selection gives Charlotte the title back at 22:49.
Rating: B. That was quite the anticlimactic ending but it was quite the violent brawl up to that point. I’m really not sure about putting the title back on Charlotte as there’s only Bayley next and it’s probably a stretch to have Bayley win one pay per view match and then move up to the title challenger. Still though, really good, match (weak spots aside) and certainly historic, but the ending wasn’t great.
Overall Rating: B. The big matches all delivered but everything else belonged on Raw or in a dumpster somewhere. I’m really glad the women went on last though as it saves this from being a nothing show that isn’t going to be remembered in more than a week or two. I know people seem to think I’m ridiculous for this but I still can’t stand the overrun and this was the best example of why.
Look at some of the stuff on here to extend the show from the Goldberg promo to various Network ads to the buildup to the main event taking nearly ten minutes. It’s just adding to an already long show and doesn’t help anything. That aside, it’s entertaining and a good pay per view and that’s the best thing you can have most of the time.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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